I am highly intrigued by the field that has gathered this week for the new WGC event, in the form of the St. Jude Invitational in Memphis. We have so many big names backing up from the Open. Names with big points to prove after last week. Names like McIlroy, who must still be feeling slightly sick about his calamitous early exit in front of his home crowd.
Names like Koepka, who for want of any sort of putting game would have been right there fighting it out with Lowry for the win on Sunday. Johnson, Spieth and Rose, who all looked likely to mount a challenge over the four days only to fall at the various hurdles. Fleetwood, who had the chance for golfing immortality right in front of him but couldn’t quite produce the game to take the opportunity on the day. And Schuaffele who had an awful first round but came roaring back up the leader board through rounds two and three and once again demonstrated the mental toughness and exceptional quality of golf he is capable of.
Then there is the fatigue factor. How do any of these names, plus the many others lining up in this week’s field who played all four days at Royal Portrush, back up from what must have been an exhausting week in Northern Ireland, particularly with the final round on Sunday being played in what can best be described as biblical weather conditions?
It all makes for a fascinating contest. (And one that’s harder to pick than a broken nose to be honest)
There is a fair bit of course form available as PGA tour events have been played on the TPC Southwind course in Memphis for many years but the course has been toughened up significantly of late with 125 more trees and fifteen new bunkers added, along with many fairways being narrowed and over 200 yards being added to make it a stern 7,238 par 70 tester of a track. There is also water on ten of the eighteen holes, so driving accuracy is very important here.
Blue Horseshoe Loves
Brooks Koepka at 11/1 with starsports.bet
Koepka has very impressive course form in Memphis with three wins and two seconds from nineteen starts. That sort of local form is plenty good enough for me and I personally think he will be steaming from letting his chance at the Open slip through his fingers. I also think he’ll be happy to be back on the greens that possess the sort of Stimpmeter readings he is more comfortable with.
Xander Schauffele at 22/1 with starsports.bet
After tipping Schauffle last week I was very unhappy to see him start so poorly at the Open with a first round of three over par. But I was very impressed with the way he climbed his way back into contention with a second round 65 and a third round 69. Ok, his last round was a car crash but so were a lot of golfers in those conditions on Sunday. I think Schauffele is one of the most exciting young players around at the moment and I think he has the class to back up and go well here in Memphis.
Patrick Cantlay at 18/1 with starsports.bet
Cantlay’s game is all about consistency. He sits first on the PGA stats table for the season on scoring average, third on top ten finishes, fourth on shots gained tee to green and first on scrambling. The man has been a machine this season and despite having a forgettable Open I think he will thrive at a TPC Southwind course that demands consistency and accuracy.
Patrick Reed at 40/1 with starsports.bet
Reed finished Royal Portrush on an impressive four under par. His game is definitely trending upwards with a succession of high leader board finishes. Reed’s iron play, which has always been the strength of his game, is starting to resemble what it looked like prior to his Masters win in 2018, so as long as his driving game behaves itself, I think Reed will be right there come Sunday.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK BROOKS KOEPKA 1 pt each/way at 11/1 with starsports.bet
BACK XANDER SCHAUFFELE 1 pt each/way at 22/1 with starsports.bet
BACK PATRICK CANTLAY 1 pt each/way at 18/1 with starsports.bet
BACK PATRICK REED 1 pt each/way at 40/1 with starsports.bet
EW 1/4 odds 5 places
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